Woman tagged as 'drug queen' by Manila police has left PH
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – A woman tagged by the Manila Police District (MPD) as a "drug queen" left the Philippines on September 21, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said on Wednesday, September 25.
"Guia Gomez Castro left the country last September 21 via Cebu Pacific, bound for Bangkok," the BI said.
BI Spokesperson Dana Sandoval added that Castro had "no derogatory records, hence she was allowed to depart."
MPD Chief Brigadier General Vicente Danao Jr told media that the "drug queen" authorities have been referring to since an explosive Senate hearing last week was Castro, a barangay chair in Sampaloc, Manila.
Who is she? Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Aaron Aquino told the Senate last week during the agency's budget hearing that there were "ninja cops" who would "recycle" drugs confiscated during raids..
Recycling referred to the unscrupulous scheme of keeping portions of drugs seized in legitimate operations, and then selling them, or using them to plant evidence in succeeding operations.
Danao said Castro has not reported for work in the village since April 25 this year, and that 1st councilor Antonio Calima has taken over.
"Kasabay ng masidhing internal cleansing ng MPD, ang drug queen ay kabilang sa mga naging priority target ng war on drugs," said Danao.
(The drug queen has been a priority target of the war on drugs, alongside the intensive internal cleansing of the MPD.)
She has been ordered to surrender: In a Facebook live address on Wednesday afternoon, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno called on Castro to surrender to his office.
"Ako ay nananawagan at hinihikayat ko kayo na kayo ay lumutang at ipaliwanag ang inyong sarili para mabigyan kayo ng pagkakataon na maipaliwanag ang inyong sarili," Moreno said.
(I am calling and inviting you to surface and to explain yourself so that you could explain yourself.)
Moreno said Castro could turn up at his office "any time." Isko said that he would then facilitate her turnover to the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) or the PDEA.
"Ang tanging solusyon ay magpaliwanag sa opisina ng NCRPO police at sa PDEA. Handa po kaming tumulong sa inyo, para naman malinis ang inyong pangalan (The only solution here is to explain yourself to to the NCRPO and the PDEA. We are ready to help you, so that you can clean your name)," Moreno said.
She's at the center of an issue: The Senate has voted to reveal the names of alleged "ninja cops" provided to them in an executive session by retired Criminal Investigative and Detection Group (CIDG) chief Benjamin Magalong.
These cops allegedly transacted with her in recycling illegal drugs.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) has called on the Senate to keep the names private, citing the "rights of these persons against undue persecution." – With reports from Rambo Talabong/Rappler.com